Common sense suggests that a society in conflict with itself cannot progress as a collective. Since the election is near and every political party present themselves as the only solution, it is interesting to study the reaction of voters and politicians to the relentless flow of information.
The ANC often accuses the DA of being deceptive and serving a minority. The DA alleges that the ANC is inept, corrupt and concerned with self-enrichment. At the same time and cross South Africa, people are toy-toying and burning tyres in response to inadequate service delivery. In Cape Town some people do not have toilets and in other provinces communities do not have tap water. Claims suggest that officials broke the water pumps so that they could give contracts to comrades.
Since this display of violent frustration is not new, the question remains, why do the poor continue to suffer? Those who believe that a lack of money is the problem should examine why the ANC and DA spent R50 billion on stadiums which remain a liability. Government spent almost R100 billion on a weapons deal. Recently the City made available R72 million for Nelson Mandela’s funeral activities.
Since the majority of municipalities are unable or unwilling to achieve clean audits and bearing in mind the arms deal and the stadium costs, logic suggests that money is not the main problem.
According to media reports the DA led City of Cape Town have been struggling with ANC led national departments to secure land (Wingfield and Youngsfield) for housing. Few people actually know why the land is not made available and this lack of info causes conjecture.
In my estimation perhaps the ANC does not want the DA to build houses as this would make the DA look good. On the other hand, perhaps the DA really does not want to build houses to begin with? Should the DA build houses this may attract more people from other provinces? This migration will slant the local racial demographics. Also, besides the coloured township of Factreton most of the suburbs adjoining Wingfield and Youngsfield are historically white and middle class. It is unlikely that those ratepayers will welcome integrated or low income housing near their primary residential asset.
Years ago I heard an interesting story. On Election Day in 1994 the ANC spend the day transporting voters in the Coloured townships of Elsie’s River, Bonteheuwel and so on to the polling stations. The next day the ANC grasped that they were deceived as the transported people voted National Party.
This narrative suggests that the relationship between voters and political parties has never been simple or one of great trust. As a result in 1994 about 86% of eligible voters voted in the national and provincial election, but by 2009 that proportion had fallen to under 60%.
For progress, honesty from politician and the voter is required. Politicians must tell voters why they waste money on useless projects instead of housing and drinkable water. Equally, voters must ask themselves why they vote for parties that are averse to deliver services or allegedly serves a minority.
Local politics like religion must at some point in history move beyond emotionalism and ideological rhetoric into the realm of value based realism, rationality and common sense. If this does not happen, the lack of honesty and integrity will continue to evade the development of a well-balanced society.
Cllr Yagyah Adams
Cape Muslim Congress